This Musician Is the New Voice of Young Romance

Angelica Garcia's music is inspired by all sorts of things—mariachi, cemeteries, Aretha Franklin. We talk to the up-and-comer about how she started writing her own songs, her favorite singers, and the time Radiohead made her cry.

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Angelica Garcia may be a young singer on the rise, but judging by her influences, she's got an old soul.

As the daughter of a Mexican father and a Mexican-American mother, mariachi culture loomed large over Angelica Garcia's childhood. "My mom used to sing mariachi for all the rodeos when she was a kid," Garcia says. "It's kind of the first music that I grew up singing, with my family."

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While mariachi music may be where Garcia first found her voice—a raspy, lilting one she uses to create moments both intimate and epic on her debut album, Medicine for Birds—her desire to write songs of her own came from elsewhere. "It's not even like I started writing music for some big reason," she explains. "It's just what came out."

"I remember what it felt like the first time I listened to Kid A, and I cried, you know? I was in my room, in the dark, just taking everything in."

"I sang along to the radio," Garcia says, "but it wasn't till my stepdad gave me Led Zeppelin, Neil Young—that was when music became about more than just pop songs that you hear on the radio. Those are album artists."

Once Garcia got a taste of the possibilities offered by the idea of a fully-formed record, she never looked back. "It changed the way I listened to music," she says. "You listen to one Radiohead album, and you're like 'Oh, god, now I've got to go on to the next one!' I remember what it felt like the first time I listened to Kid A, and I cried, you know? I was in my room, in the dark, just taking everything in."

"[My dad] said, 'It's OK for you to like Britney Spears, but I want you to hear where everything came from.' So he got me Aretha Franklin."

This is all welcome news for music fans who worry about how the concept of cohesive albums will survive in the streaming era. Garcia's debut is a dreamy, sweeping affair, on which she sings about dating and learning how to become an adult with a depth and patience that seems to reach far beyond her 22 years.

While it's Garcia's time to make her own mark on music, she doesn't plan on forgetting about her roots anytime soon. Pausing to speculate about future onstage style, she says, "I always thought it would be so badass to get a mariachi suit one day."

To keep up to date on all Angelica Garcia happenings, check out angelicagarcia.net. Her debut album, Medicine for Birds, is out now.

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